Estate planning can be complicated, especially for high net-worth couples and individuals. However, even those with more modest estates may have a much larger estate then they realize. Why? Digital assets.
What are digital assets?
Digital assets are all those accounts that we have online. This includes our cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but it also includes all of our streaming services, social media accounts and our collections of electronic books, music, movies, etc.
Do they really have value?
Yes. Of course, our cryptocurrencies and NFTs have value, though, some are more easily discernable than others. A coin that is tradable on Coinbase is much more liquid than one off-market, and NFT values are constantly fluctuating. But, the point is, each has a cash value. In addition, while a streaming service may not seem like an asset, if the service has an extremely low grandfathered monthly rate or is prepaid for years, it has value. Similarly, just like a tangible movie or music collection, their electronic counterparts have similar value.
What about social media?
The best way to think about social media is that each tracks our lives. They are repositories of our thoughts, memories, photographs, family videos, etc. And, just as one would cherish their parent’s and grandparent’s photo albums, so too would our families value our social media accounts. Plus, each can serve as a memorial and memory archive for decades to come. This has value, even if just emotional value.
What about online secrets?
Some have very different online lives that they may not want to survive death. However, digital assets, generally, do not automatically delete on death. This is why a power of attorney should be drafted for a representative to delete those accounts, confidentially.
For our Severna Park, Maryland, readers, the key take away is that digital assets should always be included in our estate plan. They can have just as much value as any other traditional, tangible asset.